HEART patients in South Wales could be treated in England in order to reduce long waiting times.
The Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) has been working on a solution after surgeons voiced their concerns about the number of patients dying while waiting for heart operations.
Morriston Hospital in Swansea is a centre where heart patients who need specialist treatment and cardiac surgery are referred. However, the centre is reportedly struggling with demands on services.
The WHSCC has launched a two year plan where heart patients in South Wales will be identified by risk and could be transferred to Bristol, Birmingham or London
Stephen Harrhy, interim director of the WHSSC, said: “WHSSC has been working closely with health boards to increase cardiac surgical capacity for patients in South Wales.
“We have commissioned extra capacity in England this financial year and in 2014-15 to help reduce long waiting times for patients in South Wales.
“Patients will also continue to be treated in South Wales.
“We know the quality of cardiac surgery in South Wales is excellent and outcomes for patients are very good but we need to increase capacity to meet current and future demand.
“We have a medium-term plan to increase both surgical and critical care capacity in South Wales and we are committed to a two-year plan to reduce waiting times.”
It comes after the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) wrote to Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) this week asking what action has been taken over concerns raised in a report last July about patients dying while waiting for heart surgery.
Following its initial report, the RCS wrote to HIW in August claiming 152 patients had died while waiting for heart surgery in UHW and Swansea’s Morriston Hospital in the past five years.
A HIW spokesman said the watchdog had received the letter from the RCS and would be responding in due course.
He said in the meantime they will continue to monitor the situation and will considering the reports.